Been meeting with a lot of new clients lately
And after the past week, I noticed a common thread.
She was an experienced dog owner and had read many books on the subject and had also hired a few dog trainers.
I noticed she had some serious self confidence issues. She felt she had messed up her dog and did a bad job with training.
She broke down and told me that she allows her dog to sleep on the bed. That she loves to play tug games and gives her dog “people food.”
She was almost in tears telling me this. She said her last trainer ripped her apart for being such a bad mother.
I was speechless. I was without speech.
She looked at my face and braced herself thinking I was about to shred her again.
I felt so bad for this kind, compassionate lady and really wanted to put my arm around her.
She was the one who became speechless when I told her there is NOTHING wrong with a dog sleeping on the bed, playing tug or feeding (GASP) people food.
I asked her some questions.
“Your dog has to sleep right?” “Yes,” she said.
“Your dog likes to play games right?” “Yes,” she said.
“Your dog has to eat correct?” “Yes,” she said.
So what is the problem I asked?
“But I was told that a dog should never sleep on the bed, to never play tug and to never eat people food,” she answered..
And that is the problem. People believe that some dog training Moses once came down from Mount Sinai with two tablets filled with commandments for dog owners.
Thou shalt not allow dogs to sleep on beds.
Thou shalt not play tug games.
Thou shalt not feed people food – ever!
It’s your dog and dammit, if you want your dog to sleep on the bed with you, go ahead.
If you like playing tug games, go for it.
If you want to share your prime rib with your best friend, everyone else can get stuffed.
NOW – let me add….
…..your dog should understand that the bed is a privilege and that you allow your dog on the bed. You giveth and taketh away if necessary.
Tug games are always controlled by you and you win at the end of the game every time to teach your dog that you are stronger – don’t want to give your dog any wrong signals.
And dog food is really a fairly new invention. Dogs used to eat leftovers and believe it or not, much of the dog food we feed is garbage anyway and your dog would be much better off eating some of your chicken and veggies.
Anyway, the purpose of this email is simple. Question everything. Question what every expert states as fact and then come back and check with me. I’ll always give you the truth – hehe!
Seriously, the last thing you want to do is beat yourself up. The next thing is to cut through the confusion and develop a good relationship with your dog.
Having a dog should be fun and not all hard work and guilt.
So go out and have some fun with your dog.